The Shower Tub Combo VS The Walk-in Shower

The Shower Tub Combo VS The Walk-in Shower

  • Mary Hawley
  • 05/22/24

The Shower Tub Combo VS The Walk-in Shower

If you're a fan of home improvement shows, you have probably noticed one popular emerging trend – the growth of homeowners ditching the traditional shower tub combo for a luxurious walk-in shower. It seems like the alcove bathtub is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. They are still common in houses, but people aren't using them much.

Many homeowners are choosing to remove the shower tub combo and upgrade their personal space by installing a spa-like walk-in shower and a standalone tub if they have the space. The biggest question we're often asked is about resale value after removing the tub. While real estate professionals typically suggest that homeowners have a least one bathtub in the home for the highest resale value, today, it depends on your situation.

Removing the shower tub combo and installing a walk-in shower is an important decision that goes beyond just your return on investment. This appliance is used every day by you and your family, so your choice should reflect the practical needs of your family.


For many homeowners leading busy lifestyles, time is at a premium. There's often not a lot of time to relax in the tub. Getting into and out of the tub with sore knees or a bad back can be difficult for older homeowners. Many of our clients seek to remove their shower tub combo and replace it with a luxurious, low-threshold walk-in shower.


As with any home renovation project, there are both and cons to replacing the tub.

The Pros

Mobility - Getting into and out of a low-threshold shower is much easier than getting into and out of a tub. As we age and for homeowners choosing to age-in-place, a walk-in shower might be a better and safer choice.

Creating A Large, Luxurious Shower - Removing the shower tub combo allows you to create a 5-foot wide walk-in shower. 

Room for a Bench - A large walk-in shower has plenty of room for a bench. This is great for shaving your legs and is the perfect spot for shampoo or a place to sit when needed.

Creates a Beautiful Focal Point in Your Design - A beautifully tiled walk-in shower is the focal point of any bathroom design. Including a glass wall can open your space up and improve the light in the room.

Modernize your Design - Removing the shower tub combo and replacing it with a luxurious walk-in shower creates a modern, updated look for your bathroom.

A Selling Feature for Future Buyers - Today, tastes are changing. Walk-in showers are high on buyers' must-have lists, so adding one (especially in the primary bathroom) can make your home more appealing to buyers, especially if it's an oversized shower.


The Cons

There are a couple of cons to consider.

Not Ideal if it's the Only Tub - If you only have one bathroom or one tub in your home, removing it can affect resale value. Young homebuyers often need a tub for bathing children, so removing the tub may shrink your potential buyer pool. If you live in a neighborhood that does not attract young families, it may not matter. You might want to consult a real estate professional before removing the tub.

It Can Be Costly - Depending on the design, and scope of work involved, completing this type of project can be costly, so you need to be sure that this decision is the best one to meet your family's lifestyle needs.


Key Considerations: Shower or Bathtub

Along with the pros and cons, here are a few key considerations when making your decision. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your priorities and specific needs.

The Price

Overall a tub shower combo can be more affordable, ranging from $400 – $8000 installed, while showers can cost anywhere from $450 - $10,000 or more depending on the amenities. On the higher end of the range, you'll find whirlpool tubs and large walk-in showers. Pro tip: The cost of labor will add up above and beyond these prices, especially when you add in the cost of plumbing updates. Expect to spend double the basic prices listed here.

Advantage: Shower Tub Combo


The standard-sized tub will take up more real estate than a standard shower (13 square feet versus 9 for a shower). If you have a smaller bathroom, replacing the tub can give you additional storage space or room for a larger shower.

Advantage: Shower

Resale Value

If your home only has one bathroom, it's probably wise to stick with a shower tub combo. That said, consider your target resale market. If you live in a condo or neighborhood with younger residents having a shower instead of a bathtub might not be a deal breaker. However, if you live in a suburb with many young families, not having a bathtub might be an issue.

Advantage: Depends on demographics and home layout


Accessibility and Comfort

If accessibility is an issue, a low-threshold walk-in shower is probably the best choice, with amenities like a bench, grab bars, and non-slip tiles. You might also want to consider the cost of a walk-in tub, depending on your needs and preferences. Many of us enjoy a relaxing soak after a tough workout or long day at work, so if this is you, the cost can be worth it!

Most Comfortable: Bath

Water Use

The average shower (under 12 minutes) uses about 2.1 gallons of water per minute or 21 gallons for a 10-minute shower. A standard bathtub requires 25-40 gallons, or if it's a whirlpool tub, 80 to 100 gallons. If you are concerned about your environmental impact, a shower is better.

Advantage: Shower (more environmentally friendly)


For Most People, Replacing A Shower Tub Combo Makes Sense

The decision to convert your shower-tub combo to a walk-in shower can be tricky. Consider how many years you expect to live in your home, weigh the costs, and how this will fit into your lifestyle now and into the future. The object of any home renovation is the enjoyment and functionality of your living space. If you want to convert your shower tub combo into a walk-in shower, do it! While resale value is a consideration, it's more important to do what makes sense and makes you happy!

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